Author: Valerie Taylor
Profile: Valerie Taylor was born as Velma Nacella Yung in rural Illinois. She was an American novelist and author. She has also published as Francine Davenport (under which she wrote her romances), Nacella Young, (under which she wrote her poetry) and Velma Tate. During the Great Depression, she went to Blackburn College. At the age of twenty two years she has been member of the American Socialist Party. In 1939 she married William Jerry Tate as she had to adhere to social norms and find a husband. In 1940 she delivered Marshall her son and in 1942, James and Jerry, her twins. She is known to mention her Potawatomi heritage most often. Until the 1950s she worked as a secretary and schoolteacher while at the same time she sold short stories, articles and poems to magazines that included Good Housekeeping, Canadian Poetry Magazine and True Love and True Story. In 1953 she published ‘Hired Girl’ her debut novel.
After Taylor met Pearl Hart in 1965 (another founder of Mattachine Midwest) they remained together till 1975. In 1979 after relocating to Tuscon, Arizona, Taylor became a Quaker and member of a social justice activist group called the Gray Panther. She became involved in advocacy of the elderly and activism in the environmental movement.
1953 – The Lusty Land
1957- Whisper Their Love
1959 – The Girls in 3-B
1960 – Stranger on Lesbos
1963 – A World Without Men
1963 – Unlike Others
1963 – Return to Lesbos
1964 – Journey to Fulfillment
1967 – The Secret of the Bayou
1977 – Love Image
1981 – Prism
1988 – Ripening
1989 – Rice and Beans
1976 – Two Women: The Poetry of Jeannette Foster and Valerie Taylor
Awards and Acknowledgements:
From the 1950s through the 1980s she remained prominent in activist causes including Elder rights, feminism and LGBT rights.
She contributed her work to the magazine, The Ladder of the Daughters of Bilitis. The magazine was the first lesbian publication distributed nationally.
In 1965 she started Mattachine Midwest and provided services as editor to the newsletter for many years.
She worked with the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and also protested at the Democratic Convention in 1968.
1992 – Inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame
Taylor’s name was added post mortem to a lengthy list of LGBTQ community members at the Tuscon Gay Museum